Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, November 12; threatened to strike out the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s suit against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke; if it failed to have her extradited to Nigeria by March 2020.
The EFCC had, on November 11, 2018, filed 13 counts of money laundering against the ex-minister.
The anti-graft agency accused her of unlawfully taking into her possession the sums of $39.7 million and N3.32 billion; with which she allegedly bought choice property in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt in Rivers State while she was in office.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Justice Ojukwu threatened to strike out the money laundering case of the commission failed to produce the defendant in court by March 2020.
Counsel to the prosecution, Faruk Abdullah, earlier pleaded with the judge to adjourn the case sine die (indefinitely); on the grounds that the EFCC was facing challenges in its bid to extradite the defendant from the United Kingdom (UK).
Diezani had been in the UK facing corruption investigations since 2015 when she left office as minister.
Abdullah told Justice Ojukwu that given the circumstances; it would be better for the case to be adjourned indefinitely so that it would not continue to “clog” the court’s docket.
Reacting, the judge said: “My docket is not going to be a waiting room for the prosecution.
“I will give you one more adjournment. If nothing happens on the next date, I will strike it out.”
The judge, in her ruling, adjourned the matter till March 10 “for report or striking out.”
The EFCC had said that Diezani ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activities.
She was said to have purchased choice landed assets with the money using different fronts as the owners.
Her alleged offences which she was said to have committed between November 20, 2011, and September 2013; were said to be contrary to Section 15(2), (d) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011; as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.